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We're Fighting for Veterans this National Veterans Small Business Week

We're Fighting for Veterans this National Veterans Small Business Week

By Barbara Carson, SBA Official
Published: November 2, 2016

Our veterans and military families deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for their service. At the same time, their government has a responsibility to serve them as well as they have served us.

They fought for the American dream – now it’s up to us to help them achieve it.

From October 31 to November 4, Joining Forces and the U.S. Small Business Administration are celebrating National Veterans Small Business Week by highlighting the many ways we are working to help build bridges to the future our veterans deserve – while tapping into the skills, values and abilities they honed as members of the finest military in the world.

The U.S. military has a global reputation for producing leaders who are: disciplined, motivated, focused, risk-tolerant, resistant to stress, and accustomed to constantly changing roles and responsibilities.

These happen to be the same traits that describe the most successful small business owners.

1 in 10 business owners in America is a veteran.

Nearly 6 million Americans owe their job to a vet.

And veteran-owned businesses produce annual sales north of a trillion dollars a year.

We want to continue to build on that economic, job-creating power by helping the nearly 200,000 service members that continue to transition each year and their families turn their dreams into reality.

Michael Sacks, an active duty service member in the U.S. Navy, launched his dream of starting his own brewery, by enrolling in an SBA Boots to Business class before his military retirement date. We’re proud to say that Michael is one of 50,000 service members and military spouses to participate in our B2B entrepreneurial counseling and training program since January 2013 – and Bold Mariner Brewing Company is now a thriving business in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Torrance Hart, also active duty, in the U.S. Air Force, reached out to her local Veterans Business Center to help launch her custom gift box business Teak & Twine. The customized advice she received, with business counselors who helped her fine tune her supply line and promote her website, helped her to grow her business.

These are just a few examples of the ways that we supporting our nation’s heroes.

We also help veterans and service members gain access to the capital they need to launch and grow their businesses – in fiscal year 2016, the SBA guaranteed nearly $1 billion in loans to veterans. We are working to increase these numbers by continuing to zero out all bank fees to veterans on loans of $350,000 or less – while cutting the fees in half for larger loans.

In addition, we help ensure that Uncle Sam does business with veteran-owned businesses and, over the past four fiscal years, we’ve surpassed our 3 percent procurement goal for service-disabled veterans.

We believe that this goal must be our floor and not our ceiling. Our Veterans Institute for Procurement (VIP), an in-residence training program that focuses on procurement, aims to give more veterans the training and resources they need to do work with the government.

Our Boots to Business program is just one of our specialized counseling programs for service members, veterans and their families. Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), a program offered in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, provides resources for women veterans, active duty and female family members to become entrepreneurs. The service-Disabled Entrepreneurship Development Training Program (SDVETP) supports organizations that deliver entrepreneurship training to service-disables veterans who own or aspire to own their own businesses. 

All this is done in coordination with our Veterans Business Outreach Centers, one-stop shops located nationwide that work hard to give our veterans everything they need to find entrepreneurial success.  

Across the country, veterans, service members and their families are continuing with their legacy of service. This week, and in the weeks to come, we hope to spread the message that their government is here to help build a better future for them, their families and our nation.

You can share your veteran small business success story or show your appreciation for veteran entrepreneurs by joining the conversation at #MyVetBiz.

For more information about NVSBW events visit www.SBA.gov/NVSBW or to learn more about opportunities for veterans available through the SBA visit www.sba.gov/vets.  

About the Author:

Barbara Carson
Barbara Carson

SBA Official

Barbara Carson is the Associate Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development.